What's Buzzing:

Puck Daddy

Shawn Horcoff: Gary Bettman’s ‘blatant lie’ about caring for NHL fans

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

View photo


Getty Images

You can understand Shawn Horcoff's frustration with the NHL lockout.

The Edmonton Oilers forward is 34 years old. He's scheduled to make a base salary of $6.0 million in 2012-13, and his annual wage tumbles to $4 million and then $3 million the final two years of his 6-year contract — and that's before whatever type of rollback the NHL ends up winning in this round of CBA talks.

Horcoff's deal is kind of creative accounting the owners and GMs perfected since the salary cap was implemented, and are now attempted to eliminate in this work stoppage. So he feeds from one hand and gets punched in the face by the other. It's rather jarring, we imagine.

So Horcoff, who has been an active member of the NHLPA, isn't a fan of the lockout. Or the NHL's brass. Or Gary Bettman and Bill Daly in particular, as he revealed to Craig Custance of ESPN.com on Monday:

"It's the same thing every time with the owners. [Commissioner Gary Bettman's] first defense is to cancel games and test the players. There's been no effort to negotiate on his stance. Their negotiation is 'The players have to come down to us or we're not moving at all,' " Horcoff told ESPN The Magazine. "Gary has forced the players' hand into this situation and frankly, he's [ticked] us off. I think at the start, that first offer they gave out, that was a big, big mistake on Gary's part."

Well, yeah. There's no question about that, given that the players still believe the NHL's offer includes a 24-percent rollback. It could be argued that the NHL's initial offer — made with an eye towards starting the talks — set the CBA negotiations back weeks, maybe months.

But Horcoff also doesn't buy that the NHL actually cares about the paying customer in this dispute.

From ESPN:

"I sit there and read Gary and Bill's comments about, 'We feel sorry for the fans.' Well, I find that really hard to believe," Horcoff said. "I think it's a blatant lie, personally. I don't feel they feel sorry for the fans at all. Gary feels like no matter what, [the fans are] going to come back and couldn't care less if they're frustrated with this. He's going to do what it takes to get the best deal and couldn't care less what they feel."

There are a few ways to read Gary Bettman's affinity for fans, or lack thereof. Does he take us for granted? Of course, as does the rest of the NHL, blind to the damage this work stoppage is doing to its core audience.

Does Gary Bettman care about what fans think? Not about him, for sure. But he does have a general interest in the fans' likes and dislikes about the game? Sure; why else hire Frank Luntz to find out what we believe during the lockout?

But to Horcoff's point: Does Gary Bettman feel sorry for the fans?

Probably as much as the players do.

s/t Kukla

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (124)
  • Australia bowled out for 224 after review controversy

    Australia bowled out for 224 after review controversy

    By Ian Ransom ADELAIDE (Reuters) - New Zealand dismissed Australia for 224 before the dinner-break on day two of the third test at Adelaide Oval on Saturday but the tourists fumed after a controversial review decision allowed the hosts to add 108 … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • Harris hits key 3, Middle Tennessee tops UNC-Asheville 63-61

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Darnell Harris made a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left that pushed Middle Tennessee to a 63-61 victory over UNC-Asheville in the Great Alaska Shootout on Friday night. … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 minutes ago
  • Jones maintains lead at Australian Open, Spieth 3 behind

    Jones maintains lead at Australian Open, Spieth 3 behind

    Matt Jones shot a 3-under 68 to hold a three-stroke advantage over a surging Jordan Spieth after the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday. Defending champion Spieth holed out with his shot from the fairway on the par-4 17th for an eagle, … More »

    AP - Sports - 16 minutes ago
  • Boykin, No. 15 TCU beat No. 7 Baylor 28-21 in double OT

    Boykin, No. 15 TCU beat No. 7 Baylor 28-21 in double OT

    Trevone Boykin had quite a closing act in his final home game for No. 15 TCU. A 12-round fight really, to be honest,'' said Boykin, who was once the Heisman Trophy front-runner. TCU (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) got to 10 wins for the 10th time in the past … More »

    AP - Sports - 20 minutes ago
  • Miles, Jr. leads West Virginia over San Diego State 72-50

    After advancing to the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational with a semifinal win over Richmond on Thanksgiving night, one would think West Virginia would be elated. Daxter Miles, Jr. scored 14 points Friday night, as West Virginia … More »

    AP - Sports - 21 minutes ago